The purpose of Our Conscience weblog is to facilitate a greater discussion and understanding of church and state separation in our community and in others. Underlying this is the value that each individual should be allowed to follow the dictates of his or her own conscience without influence, coercion, or direction from the State when it comes to matters of religion.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

NYT: Teacher Says Board Effort on Evolution Was Resisted

Our Conscience

HARRISBURG, Pa., Sept. 27 - Science teachers at the high school in Dover repeatedly resisted the school board's efforts to force them to teach creationism on equal footing with evolution in biology class, according to a former teacher who is among those challenging the board in a landmark trial.

The conflict in Dover grew so heated that in public meetings board members called opponents "atheists," threatened to fire the science teachers and invoked Jesus' crucifixion as a reason to change the curriculum, two witnesses testified on Tuesday.

"We would repeatedly tell them, 'We're not going to balance evolution with creationism. It's an inappropriate request,' " said Bryan Rehm, who once taught physics in Dover and is one of 11 plaintiffs in the suit.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Flying Spaghetti Monster car plaque!

You can order your Flying Spaghetti Monster car plaque here.

'Intelligent Design' Court Battle Begins

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- "Intelligent design" is a religious theory that was inserted in a school district's curriculum with no concern for whether it had scientific underpinnings, a lawyer told a federal judge Monday as a landmark trial got under way.

"They did everything you would do if you wanted to incorporate a religious point of view in science class and cared nothing about its scientific validity," said Eric Rothschild, an attorney representing eight families who are challenging the decision of the Dover Area School District.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

For all you Pastafarians

Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia now has an article on Flying Spaghetti Monsterism:

Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is a satirical parody religion created to protest the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to allow intelligent design to be taught in science classes alongside evolution.

The "religion" has become an Internet phenomenon that has garnered many "followers" of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (sometimes referring to themselves as "Pastafarians," a pun on Rastafarians) who claim to have been touched by "His Noodly Appendage" and preach the word of their "noodly master" as the one true religion. Their prayers to "Him" are typically ended by "Ramen", instead of "Amen". Flying Spaghetti Monsterism is primarily the invention of Bobby Henderson, a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in physics.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Senator Feinstein's comments on Church/State

And we cannot forget that in American history, Puritans, Baptists, Catholics, Jews and other religious individuals came to this continent looking for a society where they could be free from the persecution they faced in Europe and England.

In response, the Founding Fathers created a balance in the Constitution that provided for freedom of worship as well as for separation of church and state. In their efforts to protect against religious persecution, the Framers established a secular government that would remain separate from religion.

However, these basic principles could be severely weakened or unraveled depending on the Court’s allowing government funding of religious education, prayer in school, and the display of religious symbols on public property and land.

Statement of
The Honorable Diane Feinstein
United States Senator, California

Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings
Nomination of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. to be
Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court